Imagine getting a traffic ticket.
Imagine the fine you have to pay.
Imagine that fine gets doubled or tripled, arbitrarily, by a private company. Imagine you are locked up in jail because you can’t pay the fine let alone the added fees that appeared out of the blue. Imagine you are financially screwed for the next three years because of a measly speeding ticket.
A key characteristic of the Financialization Revolution is the goal of privatizing public services and national resources for the pure motive of making money. The state of Georgia is unique in its participation of the Revolution with its system of privatizing the management of court fines. Instead of local government book keeping, Georgia allowed private companies to take over the collection of court fees.
According to The Atlanta- Journal Constitution, private probation companies oversee eighty percent of Georgia’s court fines. These private companies, which are bound by free-market law to make money, add their own fees to the original fine as their way of generating profits. This means that the final cost of a simple speeding ticket is typically twice the original amount after the probation company adds its fees.
Private greed leads to public ruin – many of Georgia’s citizens have been jailed because they couldn’t afford the fine and the added fees placed by probate corporations.
Privatizing the service of collecting court fees places undue and unconstitutional hardship on the citizens of Georgia. It also provides a glaring reminder that the Financialization Revolution is a real and forceful movement.
We will be voting again soon for a national leader and the party he or she represents. We must consider our vote in terms of what will be done with the Financialization Revolution and its push for privatizing social services, our fellow citizens depend on it. Hell, we all do.
*for further reading I suggest the following:
Teegardin, Carrie. “Probation companies facing slate of reforms – Critics say probation providers need more accountability..” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA) 1 Mar. 2015, First Replate; Atlanta Journal-The Atlanta Constitution, News: A1.
Teegardin, Carrie. “AJC AT THE GOLD DOME – Probation overhaul passes Senate – Misdemeanor system has been used as costly payment plan for fines..” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA) 28 Mar. 2015, Main; Atlanta Journal-The Atlanta Constitution, Metro News: B1.